Corporate Connection

How ‘not’ to take feedback

The word Feedback is getting a makeover, and is now being reborn as Feed-forward. The word back in feedback is supposedly pointing to the past, while it should be used to move forward. While change of terminology may help to re-orient our mindsets, I feel that it is equally important to receive feed-forward in a correct frame of mind.

In this article I discuss about the 5 mistakes to avoid while taking feedback. I share with you tips on how ‘not’ to take feedback.

The things not to do when taking feedback

  • What could I do
  • No Big Deal
  • Not my fault
  • Look who’s talking
  • It rarely happens

What could I do : Accept the consequence, but ascribe to factors beyond your control. Garner sympathy.

Instead, accept the consequence and take full responsibility. This shows that you have grasped the implications and ready to reflect on root causes and correct them. The person giving the feedback feels respected and is willing to work with you to bring about improvements.

No Big Deal: Play down the impact of the consequences. ‘It’s not so bad as it appears’ or try to explain it away as insignificant.

Instead, invite suggestions on corrections that may reduce the impact, in the future, for similar mistakes. Accept the mistake and its consequences and show maturity in understanding the immediate and prolonged effects. The person giving the feedback will try to make light of it and help you reduce impact.

Not my fault: Find a scapegoat to carry the yoke. Blame it on others, your subordinates, colleagues and in some cases your boss.

Instead, take full onus and point the needle to yourself while protecting your colleagues. Taking onus is a leadership trait and you will be respected by your subordinates who may silently acknowledge their role in the disaster. It will make you stronger and safeguard against mistakes by others.

Look who’s talking: Point out the mistakes of the person who gives feedback. ‘Nobody is perfect’ statement can let you throw stones at others. Offense is the best defense.

Instead, be humble and accept the feedback. Be apologetic for the consequences and promise to bring about rapid correction to prevent a repeat. Appreciate the person for taking the time to give the feedback.

Rarely Happens: Deflect criticism by declaring it an outlier and point to earlier achievements and successful episodes.

Instead, take notes of why a perfect score of successes was marred by the current failure. Assure the person giving feedback of your serious attempt for a blemish-free innings. Make failure a ladder to success.

I hope these tips help you become a better person and a respected leader.